Our Favorite LGBTQ+ Artists of 2018

In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.

#20GayTeen was an amazing year for LGBTQ+ artists. From Troye Sivan emerging from his chrysalis into a beautiful and hella queer butterfly, to Janelle Monae blowing us away with the intricate beauty that is Dirty Computer, we have been blessed! Since the years about to wrap we decided to put together a list of our favorite LGBTQ+ artist. Many you might know, like Mary Lambert and Kesha. But some, like Leland and Vincint, will be a welcome surprise that you’ll come to love as much as we do!

So without further ado, here are our favorite LGBTQ+ artists of 2018!


Why We Love Them: Hayley Kiyoko, lovingly called gay Jesus of #20GayTeen, has released hit after hit covering romances, heartbreak, and the realizations that come to us when we fall for someone we’ve cared and known for a while. Also, her videos. Let’s talk about them. They are unapologetically hot AF. There’s no teasing or hinting at possible F/F relationships. Hayley is flirting, making out, and just being all up in the women she’s serenading. Makes me want to be one of the women she serenades…

Favorite songs: Curious, Feelings, and What I Need

Follow Hayley Kiyoko on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: The South African born artist started his career off on Youtube. Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to watch him blossom into the colorful & gender roll breaking queer man he is today. His music comes from a place of love, pain, and heartbreak (especially his three part music video for Blue Neighborhood. Talk about feels and crying with that one!) Also, the way he throws himself into dancing in his music videos and concerts, makes you want to jump right in there with him!

Favorite Songs: Bloom, My My My!, Dance to This

Follow Troye Sivan on his website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: Our bisexual bae has risen from some of the darkest years of her career and delivered unto us mere mortals an album about love, courage, and transformation. You can tell through Raimbow and Hymn, she has a better understanding of who she is. There’s no stopping her now  and we’re so ready for the 2019 to be the year of Kesha!

Favorite Songs: I Need a Woman to Love, Rainbow, Hymn

Follow Kesha on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Why We Love Them:“Fight Like a Girl” drew us in with its unapologetically feminist tones, conviction, and dedication to making female voices heard. After that, it was easy to spiral on Zolita and her (honestly) weird music and intriguing videos. Seriously, trust me on this and watch “Holy” and “Fight Like a Girl” after listening to “Come Home with Me” below. Zolita is a refreshing trip.

Favorite Songs: Come Home with Me, Fight Like a Girl, Holy

Follow Zolita on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: Like his counterpart Troye Sivan, Leland throws himself into his music with an energy hard to match. Also, he’s weird. From his on stage outfit picks to his videos, there’s something new and uninhibited in his style of music. And we love him for it!

Favorite Songs: Middle of a Heartbreak, Run Into You

Follow Leland on his Twitter and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: Janelle Monae felt like the spiritual embodiment of everything I love about being a queer woman in 2018. Sure, we’ve got plenty of shit going on and people trying to take us down, left and right. But we’re also in a place where we can love, explore, and just free to love who we want. That’s what you get when you listen to Monae and Dirty Computer. Also, Tessa Thompson is all over Dirty Computer and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Favorite Songs: Pynk, I Like That, Make Me Feel

Follow Janelle Monae on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: “Sit Still, Look Pretty” drew us into Daya and songs like “Safe” kept us coming for more. Daya, who’s had music in her since she was eleven years old at the Accelerando Music Conservatory, has this fluidity when it comes to translating her feelings into lyrics, that blows my damn mind something. She’s still growing and coming into her own style, but she’s an artist well worth watching and listening to!

Favorite Songs: Safe, Sit Still Look Pretty

Follow Daya on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: Olly Alexander, the lead singer of Years & Years, makes you feel like you’re on some sort of cosmic journey through his music. He’s not afraid to experiment with his music videos, the clothes he wears, and the moves he throws down while sitting in a throne room being judged by people who are locked away from the truth. Watch his videos to find out what that truth is.

Favorite Songs: Sanctify, All for You, If You’re Over Me

Follow Olly Alexander on his Twitter and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: We had an opportunity to see Be Steadwell live when we attended A-Camp 2018. She was, without a doubt, the camp crush to end all camp crushes. But back to her music and not her rocking glasses and lip piercing. Steadwell keeps F/F relationships at the forefront of her work and has an appreciation for making more queer music.

Favorite Songs: Sometimes, Ghosts

Follow B Steadwell on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.


Why We Love Them: After her collaboration with Mackelmore, Mary Lambert has continued to use those pipes of magic, awe, and beauty to make any queer listener swoon. Also, like Bea Steadwell, we met Lambert at A-Camp 2018. She was the sweetest and oddest blabbermouth (in a good way) that we’ve had the fortune to meet, listen to, and freak out with about the glory of pockets in dresses!


Favorite Songs: I’d Be Your Wife, Secrets, She Keeps Me Warm

Follow Mary Lambert on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)

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